The Not-so-Fun Friday: Getting Lost, Getting Found

on 16 October 2009

So, I've mentioned before that Friday was the only day I got lost. I shall now commence the Tale of the Friday.

This was the only day I felt indecisive while plotting my day. I had originally planned to see the Ukrainian museum and Little Odessa (out in QUEENS), but then I double-checked the hours and discovered that it wouldn't be possible. I had wanted to see the Jewish Heritage Museum, but it was WAY far away and I didn't relish the idea of taking the subway by myself.

So I laid in bed and stewed and stewed and stewed.

I carefully planned out another itinerary which was all within walking distance, but comprised of sights that I was indifferent about.

So I laid in bed and stewed and stewed and stewed.

The problem was that I could hear my sister's voice in my head. Rolling her eyes and saying, "Oh, M, don't be DUMB. You can take the Subway! Don't be DUMB and you'll be FINE! Just GO. And don't be DUMB. GO." I hated the thought of having to face her and tell her that I hadn't seen the museum because I was too scared to ride the subway by myself.

So I screwed up my courage and got out of bed.

I showered and dressed and headed out with the intention of stopping at the same bagel place I had stopped at the day before, loading up with my bagels and my diet coke and then marching myself to the subway and down to the Jewish Heritage museum. I remembered that I had headed out 46th street the day before so that's the way I headed. But I couldn't remember if the bagel shop was on 9th or 8th and the subway station I needed was on 7th, so I figured I would just walk and keep my eyes open and I would find it.


Yeah. I never did find it. I walked and I walked and I walked and I thought SURE I should have found that bagel shop and if not THAT one, then I should have found ANOTHER bagel shop because, dude, this is NEW YORK, Land of the Hallowed Bagel! But no. I found no other bagel shop. I counted 6 (SIX) Starbucks and 2 diners and 4 pizza joints but NO bagel shops. So in a Low Blood Sugar desperation, I stopped at one of the SIX Starbucks, bought a scone and a big glass of milk and marched myself to the Subway and admitted Bagel Defeat.

I picked up the subway with no trouble, other than being in a car full of Italian students. I drank my milk and people watched and scowled at the Italians with their skinny jeans and high heels.

I got off the subway and walked right down to the museum. I bought my ticket and headed in. And it was absolutely amazing. The first floor was Jewish heritage up to 1930. The second floor was the Holocaust and World War II. The third floor was the Jewish resurgency. It was all amazing...full of life and tradition and hope. I cried three times...well, I'll just show you.

There were ELEVEN (11) of these wall displays. They were 6 feet tall and probably 3 feet wide and filled with tiled photographs of Jews and Jewish families killed in the Holocaust. Attached to each display was a notebook inscribed with the words, "They had homes and families and names." and the notebooks were filled with identifying information of the people in the photographs. It was amazing, you were walking through this maze of faces and the curators had carefully named every one of them.

There was a separate section on each floor for the experience of Jewish children and I have to admit that I cried every time. It was hard to transition from the joy and affection of the children in the pre-1930 section to the absolute horrors of the Holocaust for the children affected by it. Aside from the pictures of the children starving and horrifically abused, there were interviews of adults who had been sent away by their parents before the war began in earnest and how all those years later they still wept for the childhood they had lost, the parents they had lost, the innocence they had lost. It was marvelous and so SO sad.

And then to get up to the third floor and to see the happy faces of Jewish children around the world, in spite of the current violence in Israel. It was lovely.

Chris called just as I was finishing up so we arranged to meet in a cemetery near Ground Zero and to view the sight together. I walked and walked and walked right past Ground Zero and peered into the MASS that the site is now. I expected to feel slightly sick, scared, small, torn. But...I don't know. It's a big construction zone now. It doesn't feel empty or frightening. It feels like a beehive.

We headed up to Central Park for a long meander and then on to the Museum of Modern Art.

Please understand, I am a walker. I prefer to get around on my two feet as God intended. I've walked all over, in Seattle, in Athens, in Germany and Ireland, in Boston and Savannah. But by Friday, I had walked myself into the GROUND. I was exhausted and my feet were killing me. But I had never been to Central Park and I wanted to see it and spend time with Chris. So off we went.

We got off somewhere in the middle on the West side of Central Park and just wandered. And it's GORGEOUS. Right there in the middle of this enormous city is this great swath of green and almost fresh air. It's not quiet, but it's quieter than the city bits. We walked and chatted and laughed. We pointed out New York Hair for the Blog Post that Was Not to Be. We stopped and bought frozen custard cones and they were DELICIOUS.

mmmmm...frozen custard.

We were looking for an Alice in Wonderland sculpture because Chris really wanted to see it. He said he felt like Alice the whole time, lost in Wonderland and not sure of how to get out again. Unfortunately we weren't sure of where we were at this point, nor of how to get to the Alice and Wonderland sculpture, so we just kept on wandering.

We found this awesome bridge with an amazing view...

You'll just have to take our word for it that the view was great. What? Chris NEVER smooches me in public, I was enjoying my fleeting moment of Public Affection.

We actually DID find the Alice in Wonderland statue but some film students were filming some scene for some amateur film that will very probably suck, so we didn't get a picture.

We were trying to kill time because the Museum of Modern Art is free of charge from 4-8 on Fridays and we were trying to see Monet's Waterlilies. It was painted in 3 panels and they're almost never displayed together, but the MoMA had them all three hung together and we really wanted to see it, but my husband is CHEAP, so we were trying to time it just right so as to not have to PAY to see it.

So in our rambles through Central Park we saw these crazy street performers. They were pretty funny and moderately talented.

After walking and walking and walking (until I could no longer feel my weary feet) we ended up on 5th avenue and headed towards the museum.

We walked through the doors and oh, my...someone catch me I am going to FAINT for it was literally body to body PACKED. LOADED. AT CAPACITY. FULL of PEOPLE. We got two of the last tickets available and headed up to see the Waterlilies.

You have to understand, at this point, I was at maximum saturation, overstimulation, need-to-hide in order to absorb everything. But Chris? Chris had been stuck in a boring conference all morning! This was an ADVENTURE! FUN! C'mon! Let's GO! So up up up the stairs we went. We joined the throngs there to see the paintings. I have to admit, it was impressive. But I was relieved to be out of there.

We headed back to the hotel because Chris finally realized that I had had ENOUGH. I ran a warm bath and soaked for a while before we had to head out to dinner.

Which is another story for another time...


Molly said...

I LOVE your hair!!